By Adam Hobbs - VP Global Supply, WeGift
Moving rapidly towards month four of working from home and the latest buzzword – “the new normal” has definitely taken over. I took the opportunity to review the last four months to see what impact Covid19 has had on our market, our industries and our partners.
As I’m sure you can imagine there have been incredibly varied results with some businesses being set up to more than cope with the pressure and challenges that this new world brings. On the flip side there have been some casualties and downturns and I’m sure we are all very much looking forward to the next time we can enjoy a GCVA event together! Without question, one of the trends to emerge over the last four months is the continued and increased growth of digital gift cards and payments.
Covid19 has forced us all to rethink our habits, change our shopping behaviour and move even more into the digital world. Supermarkets have seen unprecedented levels of online shopping and delivery services are overrun with online orders. The same can be said for gifting and, more specifically, gift cards. We’ve often spoken about how gift cards have turned into more than just a gift and long may that continue. However, as we are currently not able to go out for family birthdays or surprise our loved ones with meals out on anniversaries (even old-fashioned cash inside a card isn’t possible anymore!), we’ve had to adapt.
It’s pushed the gift card back into the limelight of gifting!
How has this affected brands and their eCommerce proposition?
As we saw from the H2 2019 results published by the GCVA B2C Online Sales represented 5.7% of the overall gift card market in the UK, and while we don’t have the information to prove it yet, I’d guess this has taken quite a jump since February 2020! Consumers are creatures of habit and once they’ve found a solution or service they like they’ll keep coming back. Here at WeGift we support our retail partners with B2C eCommerce platforms and there are some key things we’ve found over the years:
- Being in it to win it simply isn’t enough anymore. 56% of consumers said they purchase based on customer experience alone. (Source: Ayden)
- Standing out from the crowd is key. WeGift’s Wrap feature was created on this principle and focuses on bringing the excitement and enjoyment of gift giving to the digital world.
- Build on what works. One of the greatest parts of digital is the ease and speed of launching new designs and features. Analyse your results, build on your most popular designs, and keep innovating in the areas that are working – there’s no point reinventing the wheel when you don’t need to.
- Use gift cards and eGift cards as marketing tools. Include them in email campaigns, start to see them as a product within their own right, e.g. added value discounts, spend and earn.
This market has never been as competitive as it is now as we are all vying for eCommerce footfall rather than people in store. The most compelling part of this story? As eGift cards are coming back into the limelight for consumer gifting it means that for every sale you make you have two customers. The gifter and the giftee. The eCommerce journey means you are able to capture both of these sets of data now, not just the gifter’s.
This makes the humble gift card an incredibly powerful tool.
These are just some of the top line takeaways we’ve worked on over the last few years, and it’s why I believe having a market leading eCommerce solution for your gift card and eGift card delivery is vital to ongoing success. It gives your customers the ability to onward gift your brand and commit to you as a customer, you can build out a marketing database and ultimately deliver incremental revenue. If you have more specific questions around any of these areas, please feel free to get in touch with me.
I think the final reason, and arguably the most compelling reason why gift cards have been such a huge success during lockdown is the longevity of the gift. As I’m sure you know there are numerous activities and social events that we aren’t able to enjoy and if we could, the chances are we can’t do them with the people we’d truly like to be with. I’ve seen so many business ideas pop up during lockdown – how we can save our local cafes, pubs, bakeries, butchers, restaurants – the list goes on.
The only true way to do it? To offer an eGift card for that brand of course!
- Immediate, and more importantly, safe delivery
- Ties the money into the brand for when they reopen
- Cheaper than accepting traditional payments
It’s just another way of showing that our market highlights just how loyal our customers can be, how versatile our products are and how important to brands stored value, in any format, can be for the future.
I know that these learnings are focused more towards the B2C market and I’ve seen so many fantastic innovations in B2B during this period. However, I felt this was the most compelling change we’ve seen for quite some time and one that I truly believe will stay for a while to come.
Never has it been more important to be ahead in the digital world, whether that be enhancing your current proposition or launching it for the first time. Digital is the way forward and now is the time to act!
Feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions.
VP Global Supply – WeGift
Vice Chair – The Gift Card and Voucher Association
+44 7741 560331
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